Emails are magic. They are digital marketing’s secret weapon. They are the Holy Grail, Excalibur and Merlin’s beard all rolled into one. Except emails are real and you don’t need to be King Arthur to wield their power.
According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing can bring up to a 4400% return on investment if it is done right. Nope, that is not a typo. That means that you can expect up to $44 back for every $1 that you invest in email marketing.
The top four areas that will help you break into email marketing are email client configuration, list health, subject lines and calls to action. So, if this your first foray into email marketing, let us show you the world (of email strategy).
1. Email client configuration
Once you choose which email client (Mailchimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, Emma, etc.) you will use to send emails, take your time when setting everything up. Configuring your email client correctly is extremely important to ensure your emails make it to your subscribers’ inboxes and not their spam folder. The good news is that this step is relatively simple.
First, the domain you would like to send emails from (example: yourbusiness.com) must be verified. This is generally found in the account settings of the email client. The email client will send a verification email to an email address at your company to prove that you own (or represent the company that owns) the domain. Then, you will need to set up the sender information to ensure your company name and the reply-to email address are accurate.
Pro tip: avoid using a “do not reply” email address for this. It won’t affect your deliverability at this time, but it sets up a better customer service experience for your subscribers to have a contact address that will be monitored by someone who will help if a subscriber has an issue.
Second, test that this worked by sending an email from the email client to a non-company email address you have access to. This will show you how your email looks to your subscriber. If it goes to your spam folder or it has a spam warning attached to it, double-check that your domain was verified in the previous step. If the verification looks correct in the email client, the spam warning is probably an issue with authentication of your domain that your IT department should be able to fix for you.
2. List health
Creating and maintaining a healthy subscriber list is an ongoing process and it is key to increasing your email ROI. The biggest list may not be the healthiest list. It is more important to have quality subscribers who signed up to receive your emails and actively open and engage with what you send.
The first rule of keeping a healthy list is to never purchase a list. It can be tempting to invest in a long list of email addresses, but you will be sending emails to people who never subscribed to your newsletters, which means they will probably unsubscribe immediately, or worse, mark your emails as spam. This will immediately ruin your sending reputation and can result in the loss of sending privileges. We have never seen a client have luck using this method and our definitive stance is that it will do more harm than good.
On a positive note, there are plenty of ways to increase your subscriber loyalty and maintain a healthy list. The best way to do this is by managing expectations. Create an automated email that welcomes new subscribers to your list, reminds them of who you are and gives a general overview of what you will send (bonus points if you tell them how often they can expect your emails).
The simplest way to grow your subscriber list is to ask for email addresses. You can do so on your website, your social media accounts, at events and/or in your store.
3. Subject lines
Once you are ready to start creating your email, take some time to think about what you are trying to communicate to your audience. Do you have an announcement? A special sale or coupon? An upcoming event? Whatever it is, your subject line will play a huge role in the efficacy of your email.
The subject line should be a concise message that teases the content without giving it all away. For example, if you are sending a coupon for 25% off, mentioning a special deal or surprise in the email will cause a little intrigue. Even if 25% off is a big deal, some people won’t need to open the email and engage with the rest of your content if they already think they know what’s inside. The goal is to get your subscribers to open your emails and take action. Your subject line is what will compel them to open your email or immediately delete it.
Pro tip: Refrain from using spammy messaging like “FREE,” “Act now,” “Limited time only,” as this type of wording can instantly trigger spam filters. Be creative! Start with a directive subject line and then edit it down for clarity and brevity.
4. Calls to action
You’ve set up your email client properly, you’re sending emails to true fans of your business, and your subject line has intrigued your subscribers to open your email—you’re almost there!
Now that we’re inside the email, let’s talk about content. Your content will vary depending on your business and your email marketing strategy, but a critical part of your content is your call to action because it tells your subscribers what to do now that they’ve opened your email. There should always be at least one button leading back to your website or to a partner website that is selling things on your behalf (e.g. ticketing websites). We recommend keeping the content in your email short and leading your subscribers to your website to learn more.
Pro tip: Brightly-colored buttons big enough to click easily perform better than text links. Use buttons at the end of each section for the main link you want subscribers to visit and add text links for all supporting information.
These four tips will serve as your starting foundation for a solid email marketing strategy. We’ve put together a quick and easy Email Audit Worksheet to help you discover areas of improvement. The next step is to formulate an email strategy that will outline your goals, content ideas, sending calendar and automation plans. It will serve as your guide to determine which emails you should create and when.
There are many more steps to take to maintain a healthy email marketing plan while working toward that 4400% ROI. Need help with the next steps? Contact us for email strategy creation, design, development, campaign management and more.